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Kids splashing off the stern of a Bennington pontoon boat

Boating With Kids


Start taking your children on your Bennington pontoon boat at an early age, and you will instill in them a lifelong love of boating. You will relax, laugh and play with them, and see all sorts of amazing sights and wonders from your boat's wide, stable deck. The experiences you share on the water are unmatched and are likely to become your family's most cherished memories.

As with all activities involving children, it is best to be prepared. That means being cautious and having the proper knowledge, plans, equipment, and supplies. We love family boating, and are happy to share these tips with you.

Safety First

Everyone small wears a US Coast-Guard certified life preserver, also known as a life vest, life jacket, or personal flotation device (PFD). That is a rule that never wavers. Children should be wearing their life vest before they step on board the boat. It should fit snugly, and should be equipped with a handle and a whistle for emergencies. Start teaching water safety to babies and toddlers; swimming, floating, and knowing how not to panic are invaluable skills. Show them that being safe and having fun are in no way mutually exclusive. You always want to model smart behavior on the water.

Pack Wisely

No amount of diapers are ever enough, especially on the water. Make sure you have diapers and wipes galore, lots of drinking water, sunscreen for face and body, a change of clothes or two, and snacks. Lots of snacks. What is it about being on the water that makes even the pickiest toddler suddenly ravenous? Pouches of yogurt freeze and thaw nicely. Frozen fruit is a good choice, as are cheese sticks and crackers. All parents know that kid snacks taste best while children are napping. Go ahead and have some animal crackers. We won't tell.

Designate a "Safe Spot" on Board Your Bennington

Have a place where you can safely stash the kids on your Benny. Make sure it is a shady and protected spot, so that way if you are otherwise occupied you won't worry about them wriggling overboard. Make sure they know the rules. When you tell them sternly but steadily that you need to focus, they must listen and know not to run or get in the way. Kids need to know that being out on the water is fun, but requires attention and awareness of one's surroundings. That's the best way to make a confident and capable boater.

Plan Activities

Most children are not great at sitting still and soaking up the wonder of nature. Make sure you have a few fun tricks up your sleeve, especially for older kids. It can be as simple as coloring books and crayons, or as creative as a scavenger hunt of things they can find on the water or on the boat. Keep them looking around and engaged so they don't start telling you that they are bored 10 minutes into your day of boating.

Set Out Early

So many things can happen to derail your day when you are out on the water. There are just so many variables, from weather, to naptime, to unexpected detours, to tantrums. Start early and see where the day takes you. If your kids are holding up well, you can enjoy more hours on your Benny. If the toddler starts an epic meltdown around lunchtime, you will still have logged some hours on your pontoon. If you need to head home early, so be it. You can spend the rest of the afternoon snuggling.

We love being on the water with our families; it is the best place to teach life lessons and enjoy being together. As long as you remember these simple tips, you will enjoy countless excursions. Find your local Bennington dealer, and start making awesome memories!